Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis described a “religious and moral imperative” to stay at home during the pandemic as he spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day on Monday.
Gratitude is a “key element” of Pesach, Rabbi Mirvis said as he reflected on the mass rounds of applause organised over recent weeks to thank key workers and NHS staff.
“But, gratitude for our freedom is not the full story of Passover,” he continued, saying that Jewish tradition “teaches that our freedom is of no value unless it is accompanied by responsibility.”
“I have no doubt that the heroes in our hospitals would readily trade the public displays of gratitude of recent weeks for more people behaving responsibly through following Government instructions to protect ourselves and others,” he went on.
He added: “Staying at home is not easy, but it is the best way to show our appreciation to the medical staff to whom we owe so much. It is a religious and moral imperative to do so.
“The Talmud teaches, ‘If you save one life, it is as if you’ve saved the whole world’. Every single one of us can now achieve this lofty objective in a very simple way. All we need to do is stay at home.”